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Summer is in full swing, which means you'll probably start spending a little more time outdoors. Before you soak up the sunshine, make sure you’re prepared with sunblock, a beach umbrella for shade, sun-protective clothing and a good sun hat.
With so many different options on the market, we spoke with a handful of experts to get the lowdown on the best sun hats to help protect your face from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
“Broad-brimmed hats are one of the most important steps when it comes to safe sun practices,” said New York-based dermatologist Melissa Levin. “Heavy perspiration, water activities, and incomplete application of sunscreen lends to sunscreen products that rub off and lose their effectiveness, resulting in incomplete sun protection.”
If you're looking for the ultimate sun protection, Levin advises shopping for clothing with a UPF rating.
“All fabrics can shield some UV radiation, but clothing [and hats] that are designed to do the most effective job are items that are labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating. The ratings range from UPF 15 to 50+. The higher the number, the better,” said Levin.
If you're trying to protect yourself from skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends looking for clothing with a UPF of at least 30.
“Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas account for about 90% of all skin cancers, and often appear on the head and neck,” a representative for the Skin Cancer Foundation told TODAY. “Hats help safeguard your face, scalp and neck.”
In addition to a protective hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are always a good idea.
“Hats are a perfect complement to UV-filtering sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your face and eyes,” said the SCF.
While there are plenty of trendy sun hat options, it’s important you invest in a design that will actually protect your skin.
“The best hats for sun protection have a brim of at least 3 inches to shade the face, scalp, neck, shoulders and upper back, along with easily overlooked places like the tops of the ears and back of the neck,” the SCF explained. “Look for a tightly woven hat rather than a loosely constructed straw hat that lets in the UV rays.”
To shop this article by category, simply click on each link below:
Sun hats for men
Make sunny fishing days a breeze with a hat that does it all. This sun hat features a special sweat-wicking fabric with UPF 50 sun protection technology and includes an adjustable chin strap and drawcord. This Columbia hat is “Amazon’s Choice” for “Sun Hats for Men” (although it’s unisex) and has over 2,300 verified reviews.
If he’s looking for a trendy straw hat, consider this one from Quiksilver. With almost 800 verified reviews on Amazon, many customers enjoy this hat because it accommodates bigger heads and comes with an adjustable band for a comfortable fit.
This sun hat from REI is great for boaters. It floats, has a UPF 50 rating and even has a hidden hook-and-loop pocket in the crown to store an I.D., keys or money. Plus, it’s machine-washable (and won’t shrink!) and has mesh detailing to keep you cool on extra hot days.
This men’s floppy bucket hat is Amazon’s No. 1 bestseller in “Surf, Skate and Street Sun Hats.” Reviewers enjoy this hat for the cheap price point and versatility.
“This hat is perfect for keeping my face, nose, and partial shoulder covered,” said one customer. “This is going to be the ideal hat for lazy Sunday ‘Fundays’ outside and lounging on the dock, boat, or beach this summer.”
For the ultimate sun hat that guarantees no neck sunburns, try out this budget-friendly, wide-brim fishing hat with a neck flap. The UPF 50+ hat features mesh vents for cooling airflow and an adjustable chin strap.
If he’s more of a baseball cap type of guy, this sports cap from Coolibar is a great option. It's designed to block 98% of UV radiation thanks to its UPF 50+ rating and made of a soft fabric that’s lightweight, breathable and quick-drying.
Sun hats for women
When it comes to UPF hats, Levin can’t speak highly enough of Wallaroo Hat Company. “I love Wallaroo. Their hats are super chic but still broad-rimmed. My favorite is the Morgan hat which is a fedora-style hat with UPF 50,” she shared with TODAY.
It’s available in neutral shades of beige and gray that will complement any outfit while still protecting your face from harmful UV rays.
This floppy hat is made with an extra-wide brim in a trendy style that includes a cute bow detailing and provides UPF 50 protection. It’s available in black, brown, red and more.
This bonnet-style sun hat includes a trendy black bow and would work great for those looking for a fashionable sun protection option. It comes in beige, black, gray and more. Plus, you can't beat the price and its impressive 4.4-star rating on Walmart's website.
Coolibar's Brittany beach hat is the perfect combination between a bucket hat and a large floppy option — making it perfect for a long beach day. It's designed with a 6-inch brim and offers UPF 50+ protection. It also includes a sweatband and an elastic string for adjustable sizing.
If you're interested in a more personalized option, consider this customizable floppy beach hat from Etsy. For less than $22 you can get your name printed in beautiful script lettering. The hat comes in either tan, white or blush.
This luxury UPF hat brand is a favorite of celebrity esthetician Candace Marino.
“As a facialist, it's my life's work to educate on the importance of protecting your skin from the sun, so it's a no-brainer that my all-time favorite accessory is a hat!” Marino told TODAY. “My favorite hats are by Janessa Leone who has an entire range of UPF hats between 40+ and 50+. These hats are protective and do not compromise style, in fact, they elevate any outfit.”
This Finn hat is made of braided straw with a UPF rating of 50+ and a wide brim for ideal face protection.
Sun hats for kids
“Hats are great for protecting the face and neck from harmful UV rays. Babies have especially sensitive skin, so it’s important to always put on hats when outside, at the beach, etc.,” said New Jersey-based dermatologist Shari Sperling.
Whether your little one is at the beach, lake or in the backyard, this packable bucket hat offers great sun protection for your child's summer adventures. It has a UPF 50 rating and comes in both blue and pink. It's available in small, medium and large sizing.
Have your little girl match her mother with this adorable floppy straw sun hat from Old Navy. It comes in a cute shade of pink and has an interior ribbon sweatband.
This UPF 50+ bucket hat made by Connectyle is Amazon's Choice in "Kids' Sun Hats" with over 450 verified reviews. It includes mesh side vents to promote airflow and an internal moisture-wicking sweatband for extra hot days.
For more recommendations, check out:
- Dermatologist-approved sun-protective clothing for the whole family
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- 26 stylish swimsuit cover-ups to add to your summer wardrobe
- 35 Instagram-worthy pool floats to enjoy this summer
- From sprinklers to splash pads, these water toys are perfect for backyard fun
- Create a fun staycation with these kid-friendly swimming pools